As more and more businesses are affected by higher prices for fuel and related products, governments are taking steps to help them. In Japan, 30 percent to 40 percent of the cost of running a fishing boat is fuel. So when prices go up sharply, the impact on that business is direct and immediate. This past summer, the Japanese government considered helping the fishing industry through subsidies.
An editorial written on Asahi.com at the time the issue was being debated, however, noted that subsidies may not be a long-term solution because of the cost and also the dependency that builds up around them ("Subsidies for fishermen," Aug. 2). They are not alone in having these concerns. And issues such as the housing crisis in the United States are affecting other nations as well. There's no question that some of the best thinkers in these countries are devoting long hours to finding solutions that will work for them and also help the overall world economy, on which we all depend. One way we can assist them is through prayer. As the Bible puts it, we should pray "for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty" (I Tim. 2:2).
Our prayers may take different directions, depending on the concerns that are most important to us, but one helpful thought is a concept articulated by Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper and discovered Christian Science. One of her books is called "Unity of Good"; this title alone offers a profound message of hope. Each nation, each individual, is united not by the troubles we seem to have in common, but by a growing desire for good and our right to see that good expressed in our lives.
While goodness may seem to have a material basis, many of us would agree that love, peace, joy, intelligence, patience, and so forth are key to long-lasting happiness. This shows that good has a spiritual basis and that it comes from an infinite source, called God, or divine Mind.
Our desire for good unites us to solve problems collectively and individually. And here is where Mind can lead the way. Mrs. Eddy wrote, "There is but one God, one Soul, or Mind, and that one is infinite, supplying all that is absolutely immutable and eternal, – Truth, Life, Love" ("Unity of Good," p. 29).
If we pray from the standpoint that there is one Mind whose nature is Love, this concept will help us see that we aren't locked in competition with other minds for limited resources, whether these be fish, fuel, housing, or funds. Infinite Mind has enough for all its children, and it provides good in intelligent ways, in solutions that are workable and reliable over the long run.
The oneness of Mind also helps resolve lingering resentments or jealousies with our neighbors – whether these are people or countries. Each of us has a one-on-one relationship with God. Each is truly inseparable from Him and from the good He is providing every moment. It follows that we can't take good away from our neighbors, nor can they take it away from us. God is providing for everyone without competition.
Relying on the oneness of Mind opens the door to new ideas. It helps free us from feeling locked into one particular or "only" solution and helps us look at things from a different, spiritual perspective. More than this, it frees us from the fear that we will be left alone to struggle with no help in sight. God, Love, would never abandon His children to a desperate fate.
Jesus advised his followers, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Matt. 7:7). Each of us can ask for God's direction and help for ourselves, our leaders, our nations, and the world. Such help is much needed right now, and as we ask, let's expect answers that will bless all of us.
Behold, how good
and how pleasant it is
to dwell together in unity!